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Estes - Gauchito {Kit}

Diameter:1.0000 inches
Length:8.6000 inches
Skill Level:1

Contributed by Brian Ray

(MODS) Estes GauchitoBrief:
This modification was my own personal response to what I had seen as an all-too-common statement on model rocket forums: add nose weight. It seemed to me that no matter the situation, the clarion call was for more and more nose weight. "Hey, I painted this rocket blue instead of yellow." "You better add some nose weight." While not usually a kit builder, I found this kit on clearance and decided to prove my point (to myself, of course).

The build was straightforward once I created the centering rings. I did so in MS Publisher after having measured the inside diameter of the body tube. I printed the rings and glued them to cereal-box-weight cardboard. Engine retention is friction fit. The other significant modification was using a streamer instead of the parachute--I knew it was going high and I didn't want it floating away.

I opted to change the finish slightly as well. Having lived in Brazil for a few years, I couldn't bear to put the Argentine flag on anything. I printed my own Brazil flag decal, painted the fins Brazil's colors, and renamed it the Vaqueiro (Portuguese for 'cowboy').

I used:

  • 1 Estes Gauchito kit
  • 1 BT-20, 2.75"
  • 1 BT-20 engine block
  • 1 set of centering rings
  • 2 streamers

Flight and Recovery:
This rocket has flown twice, both times on a C6-5. As I predicted, each flight was excellent; very straight and very high. Recovery has been just a tad rough--it came down very quickly under the streamer and popped a fin each time. It was easily repaired, however.

This was a fun little rocket to build and fly. It really moves fast off the pad and flies really high, if you like that in your rockets. While I understand that some designs do necessitate nose weight, this example shows that it's not always needed. I really don't think this mod has any cons. For some, however, making your own centering rings or adapting the ones that came with the kit may not be something they want to do. Also, some may not enjoy the potential walk that comes with recovering a rocket that flies as high as this one. I for one, like the altitude and can use the exercise. And if I stumble on another one of these kits I am going to modify it for 24mm engines.

    Flight Log

    DateRocket NameMotor(s)AltitudeNotes
    2004-12-14Donald Besaw's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-2- Nice first flight. Not much altitude, maybe 100 feet. Nice chute deployment and recovery. No ...
    2004-12-14Donald Besaw's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Nice second flight, reached maybe 250 feet. Nice recovery but the capsule seperated from the ...
    2005-04-17Kyle Hancock's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA3-4- First Flight
    2005-04-19Warren Evans's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- To big a chute I should of used a streamer It drifted to the woods
    2005-05-04Donald Besaw's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Nice quick flight to about 300 feet. Great recovery close to pad. No damage.
    2005-10-16Kyle Hancock's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-4-
    2005-11-04Donald Besaw's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Nice flight, nice straight boost. Capsule seperated from insert at ejection but it was recovered. ...
    2006-01-29Robert Koenn's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA3-4- This was a future sport scale contest entry for the Florida Winternats Contest. Model flew well ...
    2006-04-08Eldred Pickett's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3-
    2006-04-09Gene Wolski's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-4- Chute wadded up - broke two fins on landing. Repaired for next flight.
    2006-04-16Donald Besaw's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA3-4- Nice flight and recovery. No damage.
    2006-04-29Clive Davis's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA3-4- Nice flight, but the 'chute was tangled and didn't deploy properly. Still landed undamaged.
    2006-05-21Gene Wolski's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-4- Great flight!
    2006-06-26Richie Brunjes's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-2- Cool little rocket, broke a fin on landing
    2006-06-27Richie Brunjes's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Broke a fin
    2006-08-20Gene Wolski's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Great flight!
    2006-09-12Ed Scientist's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-P- OOPS. After launching a couple of tumble recovery rockets..I ugh..I..didnt realize I put a plugged ...
    2007-04-28Craig McGraw's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-450 feet Bad choice of motor. Model reached about 50' before plunging to earth. Deployment was after ...
    2007-04-28Craig McGraw's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3400 feet Much better choice of motor. Model screamed off pad and nearly straight ascent. Good deployment ...
    2007-06-16David Montgomery's Estes X-Prize Gauchito4x1/2A3-2250 feet Ejection just before reaching apogee; Entered in the Future Scale/Science Fiction event at the ...
    2007-08-12Taylor Gonnerman's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-2- The flight was low and slow; this is an excellent rocket for a small field.
    2008-02-17Gene Wolski's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Great boost! Replaced chute with crepe paper streamer - no damage on landing (usually breaks a ...
    2008-05-04 David Montgomery's Estes X-Prize Gauchito4x1/2A3-4300 feet Excellent flight for the Future Scale/Science Fiction event. Strong winds and light thermal caused ...
    2008-06-07Robert Koenn's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-3- This was a contest flight in Orlando at an open meet. The model was actually used for spot landing ...
    2008-07-12Joe Alain's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-4- Nice flight but chute was slightly burned. Landed close by with no problems.
    2008-09-07David Sindel's Estes X-Prize Gauchito1/2A3-4- I replaced the parachute with a small streamer. It went about 100 feet up and ejected about 15 ...
    2009-02-21David Sindel's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3-
    2009-11-07John Bergsmith's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3- Never goes that high, but always goes straight. Nice flyer, fun to watch.
    2012-10-21Gene Wolski's Estes X-Prize GauchitoA10-3T- Great flight - recovered on streamer with no damage.


    B.A. (March 8, 2006)

    This is a neat little rocket that flies well, especially on the mini motors. I almost always launch this one first, to give me an idea of how the winds are up off the ground. I was really surprised at how nice it is.

    G.O.D. (May 27, 2008)

    The "Gauchito" is a very accurate reproduction of the concept-rocket designed by DeLeon Technologies for the XPrize contest.- It?s a legacy design, derived from the battered "Little Joe", the rocket designed to test the escape systems for Mercury and Apollo projects.- I have this model, (as a gift from the designer, Mr. Pablo DeLeon) and I'm very proud of it!!!

    R.J.K. (October 2, 2008)

    I bought the Gauchito since it looked rather interesting, a bit like a Little Joe. After purchasing it I also had a contest I was running in Florida for Future Sport Scale, an event where you model and fly a real rocket design that has yet to actually be built and flown. I needed a quick entry for the event so built the Gauchito as my entry. The model was a straight forward build and relatively simple. But since I was going to use it in the contest and it was to be judged for static points I modified the plug in engine nozzles to be permanent in the rocket. This primarily required that I cut away a bit of each nozzle where they would interfere with the mini-engine used to fly it. It did make for a rather tight engine fit but added some points for static judging. It flew fine, as a simple rocket like this should, in the contest. A couple of years later I also used it in a contest in Orlando for spot landing. Being small but low powered it was ideal for such an event, provided the spot was not too far away. It actually took first at the contest!

    D.S. (January 9, 2009)

    Anyone have any idea what size body tube this is? It's between BT-56 and BT-60. Could it be BT-58, as sized here?

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